Ralph P. Arabie was born on July 1‚ 1960 to the late Felix and Nellie Arabie. Ralph was raised with his sister Janice in Gretna‚ Louisiana‚ a city that he would grow to love‚ serve‚ and protect for his entire life.
In 1978‚ at the age of 18‚ Ralph became a paid Apparatus Operator for the David Crockett Volunteer Fire Company #1‚ which provided fire protection for the City of Gretna. Once hired‚ Ralph quickly earned a reputation for being a knowledgeable‚ hard worker who went above and beyond when called upon. At the firehouse‚ Ralph was always the center of attention making everyone laugh and enjoy their time there. His smile brightened up the room and could brighten up anyone’s day.
In 1991‚ Ralph took his love for serving others in his community even further by going through the Gretna Police Academy and becoming a Reserve Police Officer for the Gretna Police Department. On his days off from the firehouse‚ he took his work ethic from his fire department career and applied it to police work just as effectively. He was known as a dependable‚ fair‚ and professional officer who loved doing the job.
As well as his positions as an Apparatus Operator and Reserve Police Officer‚ Ralph also took on several additional roles in the fire service throughout his career. For several years‚ he was in charge of the David Crockett Junior Firefighter Program where he mentored teenagers who were considering careers in public safety. He was a lifetime member of the Harvey Volunteer Fire Company #2‚ where he found his specialty in Fire Prevention and Investigation. His biggest accomplishment came when he was appointed to be the Supervisor of the Gretna Fire Board‚ the city’s fire prevention bureau. It was in this role that he was able to truly shine. He was able to utilize his personality‚ knowledge‚ enthusiasm‚ love for people‚ and communication skills by conducting fire safety classes to the public that he loved to serve.
In 2005‚ Ralph showed his true heroism by staying on duty through Hurricane Katrina. He was awarded the Medal of Valor for his courage‚ service‚ and leadership during the disaster.
Ralph’s career‚ while very important to him‚ was not his main passion. His main passion was his friends and family. On October 9‚ 2004‚ Ralph married the love of his life‚ Jan (Beck) Arabie. He happily took on his new role as Stepdad to Jan’s daughter Casey Christiana Guidry and her husband Chase. He also became ‘Paw Paw’ to Casey and Chase’s two sons Caden and Carter who he referred to as his ‘best buddies.’ He never missed a birthday‚ holiday‚ or karate match‚ and he always had his camera with him taking photographs. He couldn’t talk about his family without getting a huge smile on his face. His family was his life.
On September 29‚ 2008‚ Ralph was taken from us. When he was taken‚ it left a scar on all of our hearts that will never heal. Though unexpected and way too soon‚ we all thank God everyday for the time we had with him. He touched all of our hearts and brightened all of our souls. He will truly be missed‚ but lives on inside of all of us.